Billionaire Joe Lewis—former owner of Tottenham Hotspur—pleads guilty to insider trading


Billionaire Joe Lewis, former owner of the Tottenham Hotspur Premier League soccer team, entered a guilty plea in Manhattan Wednesday in his insider trading case, multiple outlets reported, six months after he was charged with securities fraud for allegedly passing inside information to his girlfriend and others in his circle.

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club owner Joe Lewis leaves Manhattan federal court in New York City on July 26, 2023.

AFP via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • Joe Lewis, 86, was indicted along with two of his private pilots on insider trading and securities fraud in July and initially pleaded not guilty to the 16 charges against him.
  • Federal prosecutors in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York accused Lewis, who has an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion, of “repeatedly” passing insider information about four publicly traded companies to his business associates, as well as his pilots and his girlfriend.
  • On Wednesday, Lewis pleaded guilty to three counts of securities fraud and said he “knew at the time what I was doing was wrong, and I’m so embarrassed,” Bloomberg reported.
  • David M. Zornow, Lewis’ lawyer, did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment Wednesday morning.
Crucial Quote

“Today, Joe Lewis acknowledged his conduct in connection with a number of stock trades by individuals close to him,” a spokesperson for Lewis said in a statement to Forbes. “Mr. Lewis did not engage in improper trading in his own accounts. His conduct should be viewed in the context of Mr. Lewis’ long life of accomplishment and integrity. Soon to be 87, Mr. Lewis is deeply sorry, embarrassed, and apologizes to the Court, his family, and all those who have come to rely on him.”

Key Background

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the Securities and Exchange Commission in July filed parallel actions against Lewis for providing his associates with private information about publicly traded companies, including Australian Agricultural Co. and Mirati Therapeutics. He was also accused of having a “pattern of false filings and misleading statements” regarding his ownership of multiple companies’ stock. The filings claim he passed the information to his former girlfriend and his two pilots, among others. The pilots, Patrick J. O’Connor and Bryan L. Waugh, and Lewis’s former girlfriend, Carolyn W. Carter, allegedly profited more than $545,000 from trades off the insider information. The SEC’s case, which also charged O’Connor, Waugh and Carter, was stayed in September pending the outcome of the criminal charges.

Forbes Valuation

Lewis, a self-made billionaire, is ranked as the 444th richest person in the world as of Wednesday with an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion. He founded the Bahamas-based Tavistock Group in 1975 and investments have included the Australian Agricultural Company, Poland Land Co., Freebirds World Burrito and U.K. pub operator Mitchells & Butlers. Lewis is also the owner of a 321-foot super yacht, which was used to secure his $300 million bail after his indictment in July, according to The Athletic.


Lewis is most known for his association with Tottenham Hotspur, the North London Premier League football club. Tottenham is owned by ENIC Sports Inc., of which Lewis’s family trust is the majority owner with a 70% stake. ENIC owns 86.5% of Tottenham Hotspur Limited and one THL convertible A share. Lewis has not had significant control of the club since October 2022.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Joe Lewis is a former owner of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team. It was first published on and all figures are in USD.